On of the most important aspects of government is to be able to trust them in times of emergency. There are departments which are supposed to be non political and when they give out information in times of emergency people need to react. One of these departments is the weather service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA. The department is under the Commerce Department.
The story is when Hurricane Dorian was off the coast of Florida after creating havoc on the Bahamas by doing something very rare, it stalled and sent winds, rain and storm surges on the island leaving very little behind. The Hurricane moved towards Florida and NOAA forecast it would may hit Florida or would stay offshore but definitely run into North and South Carolina, before it went up the east coast and go towards Europe. Fortunately for Florida, the hurricane although very large, stayed 100 miles off the coast, before it ran into the Carolinas.
Before it went up the coast, President Trump during interviews suggested Alabama was going to be affected. NOAA did not see that and even though President Trump tweeted the good people of Alabama to be ready to leave the state, the Hurricane was not seen to be either crossing Florida or reaching Alabama. Naturally, people in the Alabama area started calling the weather service at NOAA to see if their communities should be ready to leave. NOAA said the Alabama area was not affected, do not leave your home because of the Hurricane.
The President had the maps in the White House where a Sharpie market (drawn by him) added the state of Alabama to the width of the hurricane. The President was wrong and damage control by press agents was needed. The President does not admit he is ever wrong, for even though the facts show he was wrong, he thinks it would be weakness to say so. The Commerce department sent press notices that NOAA was wrong and every citizen who followed the Hurricane path on TV wondered what is going on in Washington?
In an article by Jason Samenow and Andrew Freeman of the Washington Post, it was revealed even thought the Commerce Department knew or quickly found out NOAA’s weather people do not follow the President’s twitter account, NOAA press release was they were reacting to people’s concerns who are their customers. The Commerce department rebuked the department to show their loyalty to the President and undermining the public trust in NOAA, which is needed to be trusted in emergencies.
Linking to dividend paying stocks, one of the reasons companies get into trouble is there is no one to say no to the President or CEO. 100% of us make errors and Presidents of countries are no exception. The President’s job is the allocation of resources and many times the best laid plans are not successful, someone needs to be able to say no or stop. In Washington, it looks like few do, the ones that should would rather throw their people or their departments under the bus rather than defend them. Hopefully there is someone in your companies investments that can say no.
There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions.